New Greek airline seeks U.S. routes
SkyGreece Airlines, a new company in Athens, filed at the Transportation Department for rights to operate scheduled and charter service to the U.S. from Greece and other points in the European Union. The company did not disclose a proposed route or launch date, but the documents indicate it is licensed by Greece for transatlantic service and has one 767-300 aircraft in its fleet. The company's website
states that direct flights between Athens and North America are "coming soon."
Frosch is acquiring L.A.'s Willett Travel
Corporate travel giant Frosch, No. 16 on Travel Weekly's Power List with sales volume of $1 billion, is acquiring Willett Travel of Los Angeles, effective in April. Both are members of the Signature consortium. Willett was established in 1943 as a Greyhound agent serving World War II servicemen and claims to be the city's oldest independently owned travel agency.
Melia Hotels plans first property in N.Y.
Spain's Melia Hotels inked a deal to brings its urban lifestyle brand, Innside by Melia, to Manhattan, north of the Flatiron District, in 2016. The 313-room hotel, the company's first in New York, will occupy a new, 20-story building planned for West 27th Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues.
Warwick acquires Chicago's Allerton
Warwick International Hotels acquired Chicago's 90-year-old Allerton Hotel on the city's Magnificent Mile. The 443-room Allerton, which has been independent since it parted company with Crowne Plaza in 2007, will be renamed the Warwick Allerton.
Mall of America to get JW Marriott hotel
Minnesota's Mall of America staged a ground-breaking ceremony for a $325 million expansion that will include Minnesota's first JW Marriott hotel. To be owned by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the 342-room JW Marriott will be part of an expansion that includes an office tower with 180,000 square feet of office space and new retail space on the north side of the 4.2 million-square-foot complex. The addition is slated for completion next year. Last year, a 500-room Radisson Blu opened adjacent to the mall, which opened in 1992.
Versace mansion reopens as hotel
The former mansion of Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace is in soft-opening mode as the Villa by Barton G., a 10-suite boutique hotel on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. Versace bought the mansion in 1992 and spent $33 million on renovations, including a 54-foot-long, mosaic-tiled pool lined in 24-karat gold. In 1997, Versace was shot dead in front of the mansion. The Villa by Barton G., named after event planner and restaurateur Barton G. Weiss, retains many of the furnishings and accessories. Rooms range in size from the Medallion Suite at 434 square feet to the 1,428-square-foot Venus Suite. The Villa Suite, Versace's bedroom, features a 9-foot-long double king-size bed.
Riu begins renovation of Westin Aruba
Riu Hotels & Resorts, which agreed to acquire the former Westin Aruba last November, began a $60 million renovation that is expected to take a year. The resort, which closed in February, will reopen in 2015 under the Riu flag as a sister property to the adjacent all-inclusive Riu Palace Aruba.
Friends & Colleagues
Perillo Tours has named Larry McCarthy its national sales director responsible for the trade sector. McCarthy spent three decades with the Globus Family of Brands, where he last served as director of travel industry relations. • • • Bob Morse, COO of InterContinental Hotels Group's (IHG) Americas region, will step down, effective April 4. IHG did not disclose a reason for Morse's resignation.